Category Archives: Iran

Debate “afterblogging” UPDATE: Whatshisname?

Henry Kissinger has told The Weekly Standard that Obama is kidding himself if he thinks Kissinger’s attitude toward engaging Iran is at variance with McCain’s:

“Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.”

OK, so I’ll revise my original assessment slightly:  there was at least one notable stumble.  Hot Air goes into further detail, and Gateway Pundit points out the McCain called “shenanigans” right after Obama said it.

Ben Smith at Politico says that Obama fell back on abstract language when talking about “the visceral issues of war and peace.”  Yeah, I picked up on that too.  He was treading on that danger zone where he affects what many have called a “professorial” tone, making him look like an Adlai Stevenson-style egghead.

Smith does make a point I’m not so sure about:

McCain’s goal in the foreign policy debate, a smart operative points out, is to prove that Obama “doesn’t understand” foreign policy.  Under one theory of this debate, Obama has a low bar, which is to prove a threshold competence on foreign policy.

Anybody who’s read my debate liveblog in the post before this one knows I don’t think Obama had a low bar, despite his campaign’s attempt to lower it by feeding a talking points memo to the New York Times beforehand saying…well, what a crappy debater he usually is.  I do agree with the first sentence, however, and I think McCain got more mileage out of casting Obama as a foreign-policy naïf than Obama did out of any lowered expectations.

UPDATE: I’ve noticed that a bunch of livebloggers have had a much different reaction to Obama’s “I’ve got a bracelet too” riposte.  I said it was an effective comeback to McCain’s “bracelet” schtick.  However, since I sit at my desk with my back to the TV (turning around only intermittently), I didn’t see what Obama’s counter-schtick looked like.  What I missed is that Obama blanked on the name of the solider the bracelet was supposed to commemorate, and had to check it while fumbling for the name (video here).  OK, fair point…I can see how that would detract from the poignancy of the moment, yes.

Presidential Debate Liveblog!

OK, debate’s over, and full liveblog transcript is below the break.  Other liveblogs here, here, here (drunkblogging!), here (Part I and Part II), here, and here.  Instapundit has his own roundup here.

Overall, no “knockout punches,” which favors Obama by default, but he had to overcome the impression that he’s not a foreign-policy lightweight, which he didn’t manage to do.  McCain currently leads by double-digits in poll questions asking who’s the better Commander in Chief, and I doubt that will change after tonight.

Continue reading

Biden Gaffe Watch

OK, there have been enough of these by now to warrant their own recurring theme.  Given their surprising frequency and the new focus on Joe Biden in the news, I just know this won’t be the last.

At a major foreign policy address Biden let fly this beaut:

“After seven years, in which our senior diplomatic personnel were not allowed to make a single contact with Iranians, the Bush administration realized the absurdity of its own policy and sent our leading diplomat to Iran,” he said. “The Assistant Secretary of State as he went to Tehran, sat down at the instruction of the President of the United States.” (via provides a Biden-to-Real-World translation:

In point of fact, the one “meeting” that has taken place was in Geneva, Switzerland, when Under Secretary of State William Burns sat in on a discussion between Iranian representatives and the other “P5 +1″ political directors involved in nuclear talks. The meeting, while a first, was not a negotiation; Burns was there merely as an observer, and had no formal role or talks with the Iranians.

So, point by point: Burns was not sent to Tehran; he did not go to Tehran; and there was no such instruction from the President.

Retroactively rounding up the Biden Gaffe Watch archives below the break.

Continue reading

Nice job. Really nice job.

Congratulations are due to Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama and his campaign.  They’ve managed, as CBS News reports, to turn an anti-Iran rally into an anti-Obama rally.

Politics and diplomacy were not a good mix at Monday’s protest rally against Iran at the United Nations.

Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin didn’t participate in the “Stop Iran Now” rally and there were a lot of hard feelings about it.

It was a simple sign that read “We Want Sarah. Shame On The Rally Organizer.”

Howard Webber from Brooklyn held it.

“As important an event as this is, you needed a unity of Democrats and Republicans to show Ahmadinejad that we’re not going to accept a nuclear Iran.”

Buddy Macy of Little Fells, N.J., felt much the same way.

“I’m so disappointed, upset,” Macy said. “She would have brought 10,000-20,000 more supporters of Israel. People who were curious were stopped because of partisan action.”

The brouhaha started after Clinton pulled out after she learned Palin was invited. Three organizations supporting the rally threatened to pull out unless Palin was disinvited. She was but organizers didn’t stop there.

They were furious Monday about the political signs brought by some at the rally, like an anti-Obama sign that said, “Jews Against Obama & Ahmadinejad.”

If Howard Webber’s sign is any indication of general sentiment in the crowd, then the shame is that the organizers are being blamed.  Earlier Democratic maneuvering and blackmail really didn’t give them much choice in the matter.  Gateway Pundit does have a slightly encouraging update:

Iranian activist Banafsheh Zand Bonazzi was at the rally and mentioned that there were several pro-Palin signs in the crowd but that there were not many anti-Obama signs.

It would’ve been pretty difficult to keep the Palin dust-up out of the rally, but at least what there was turned out to be affirmative (pro-Palin) rather than negative (anti-Obama), especially since even though Obama certainly didn’t help matters by stonewalling the organizers in their search for a speaker, Hillary was the one who got the ball rolling in the first place.

Senior prom politics, escalated

OK, the parallels to a 90210 senior prom have finally hit a brick wall.  The saga of Sarah Palin’s disinvitation to Monday’s nonpartisan anti-Ahmadinejad rally at the U.N. has edged dangerously into McCarthyist territory.  And as with Hitler references, I never raise the ghost of Tailgunner Joe frivolously.

For those who haven’t been following, I blogged about this earlier.  Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  • Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were both invited to speak at the rally.
  • Clinton wasn’t aware Palin was invited; when she found out, she withdrew, saying (bizarrely) that she hadn’t been aware it was a “partisan event.”
  • After the organizers were unable to find a suitable counterpart to Palin, and the possibility arose that she would appear without a Democrat to offset her, they came under heavy pressure from Democrats to rescind her invitation.
  • Unable to placate the Democrats, but unwilling to insult Palin by singling her out for shunning, the organizers simply disinvited all scheduled politician guest speakers.

Such petty sabotage of a perfectly legitimate event is bad enough, but according to CBS News (as blogged by Hot Air), the Democrats didn’t just lean on the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to dump Palin from the billing.  Not only did some of them threaten to pull support (which is replaceable), but they actually threatened the Jewish groups’ tax-exempt status (which isn’t) if they failed to scrub her appearance.

Tax-exempt organizations are forbidden by the IRS to engage in partisan political activity, even if a good-faith effort is made to preserve nonpartisanship.  For Democrats to deny a nonpartisan group access to any of their prominent figures deliberately, and then to turn around and threaten to sic the IRS on them precisely because they have no speakers from their party, all to keep Sarah Palin away from a microphone, is unconscionable.  Using government intimidation to silence or weaken a political figure is a hallmark of McCarthyism, and no party is immune.

Senior prom politics

Allrightythen, make it official.  The 2008 presidential election has morphed completely into a really bad episode of “90210”.

Here’s the plotline:  the handsome high-school quarterback dumps his head-cheerleader girlfriend for a pretty new exchange student, who will now be his prom date.  Meanwhile, an earnest, popular fellow student of theirs wants to organize a killer “After-Prom Party” at Mom and Dad’s beach house, and invites everybody who’s anybody.  However, the jilted cheerleader will be damned if she’ll spend one minute in the same house with that tramp from some faraway place she never heard of, and her sizable social circle looks like it may also stay away out of solidarity.  The party organizer, panicked at the possibility of the event collapsing, tries to compromise by inviting other people famous for hating the quarterback’s new love, but it only offers the prospect of more awkwardness, and the cheerleader’s social circle is solidifying its boycott.  The poor would-be host is left with few options but to cancel the party or disinvite everyone involved with this metastasizing spat.

This is the essential storyline of a political catfight involving Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and a scheduled rally on Monday in New York to protest Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the city to address the U.N. General Assembly.

Like sands in the hourglass, details are below the break.

Continue reading